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Event parrot: Is Twitter testing a new breaking news system?

A new experimental account suggests that Twitter is quietly testing a new breaking news alert system.

As noted by TechCrunch, the @Event Parrot test account has been sending direct messages with breaking news alerts. The account has already garnered more than 22,000 followers — including Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams.

"This is a Twitter experiment," the Event Parrot profile said. "Follow me to receive direct messages that help you keep up with what's happening in the world."

So far, the account has not posted any tweets, but since following the account this morning, I've received one news report: an Associated Press (AP) headline telling me that US House Speaker John Boehner will ask officials for a short-term debt ceiling increase. TechCrunch also got a repackaged tweet from CNN about rebels kidnapping Libya's prime minister.

Twitter declined to comment on the account, instead pointing to a September blog post that illustrated the company's various experiments.

Twitter used a similar test account, @Magic Recs, to test its new personalised push notification system, which alerts Android and iOS users when multiple people follow the same user or favourite or retweet a message.

The Magic Recs account continues to run "as an experiment," offering user recommendations via direct messages.

Recently, Twitter launched mobile emergency alerts in partnership with dozens of organisations, including the American Red Cross, FEMA, and the World Health Organization. Users can subscribe by visiting the group's alert page, found by adding "/alerts" to the end of a Twitter address.

Yesterday, the micro-blogging site also announced a new service to allow Comcast Xfinity TV customers to control their favourite NBCUniversal shows via a single tweet.